The Facebook memory posts of this weekend in years past are rife with longing. Homesick references to hotdogs and fireworks. Wishing for Rockies games and American food. Truth is if I could have returned “home” yearly to the US for any holiday I would have chosen the 4th of July over Christmas every day of the week and twice on Sundays.
You know what I’m like. I always cry at parades. I ooh and aah over fireworks and have been known to clap my hands and squeal for particularly good displays. I’m a sucker for a good hotdog and would still choose an ice cold Dr Pepper over a delightfully cheeky rosé more often then my classy-side would like to admit. I know almost all the words to every patriotic country song they’ll play this weekend and have a small stash of stars and stripes decor that come out every year no matter what part of the world we inhabit.
Last year I threw a party. With hotdogs—or the closest estimation I could come up with in Oz—and watermelon (even though it was winter there I found one!), and cokes, and iconic American music. We played whiffle ball in the park across the street and I decorated the house with stars and stripes and red, white, and blue.
I’ll be there to watch at 9:30 sharp tomorrow as the firetruck leads the kiddos on their decorated bikes and scooters around the neighborhood loop. I can’t wait! I know the pool will be stinking fun with its baby games and splash contest and all day bbq. Our friends hooked us up with their yearly firework watching spot and I am looking forward to every sparkly moment.
Still, as our first 4th of July weekend as US residents for almost 8 years unfolds I find myself filled with longing. Homesickness. The funny blessing and curse of an expat: my heart lives on several continents. I suppose no matter how American the holiday it still brings that point to bear.
The pool was closed all day. Since I couldn’t wear a swimsuit I accidentally stayed in my jammies all day. Slept a bit. Cried a lot. The sky this evening is overcast and thundery. Even the cardinal rule of absolute family togetherness on holidays in a new country is being broken: Middlest is 600 miles away.
Listen, there’s so much to celebrate and much gratitude for the place we find ourselves in. This incredible neighborhood. This lovely state of Colorado. Old and new friends that surround us. In spite of all of that though the truth is I’m melancholy. Filled with memories and the truth of how far away everyone is. Filled with a bit of worry about the state of things in all 3 of the countries I’ve grown to call “home.” On Independence Day it’s my interconnectedness that brings this emotion. I love all the flags my family has unfurled under. All the combinations of red white and blue that have given me life. Brought my family together. Showed me more of who I am. Taught me in more ways than one about brotherhood from sea to shining sea.
I’m going to get dressed now. We have a very important neighborhood gathering to attend. With streamers and ribbons and all the paraphernalia needed to make that parade really shine. Love you British friends and Aussie friends. I’ll be eating a hot dog and drinking a Dr Pepper for you tomorrow. I sure miss you all!